Market trader turned North-East business tycoon is declared banrupt

The Northern Echo: Karl Watkin Karl Watkin

AN entrepreneur said to owe more than £3m has been declared bankrupt, despite once sitting on a gold mine.

Tycoon Karl Watkin who has run gold mining, private jet and biofuel firms has been at the head of global business interests.

However, he was made bankrupt at Newcastle County Court after the Bank of Scotland claimed he owed them £3.3m.

Mr Watkin started as a market stall trader and became the creator of a multi-million-pound Chinese gold-mining firm, a biofuels empire and private jet business.

Awarded an MBE, he made headlines last year after campaigning for two terror suspects to be tried in the UK rather than be extradited to the US.

But he has now been declared bankrupt by the court after a petition was brought by the bank.

His country house in Longhorsley, Northumberland, where he previously lived with his family was recently advertised for sale for £2.75m.

In 1995, he bought Newcastle’s then troubled Tyne Theatre, before selling it on.

Mr Watkin later masterminded biofuels firm D1 Oils to run plantations in Africa and Asia.

The company had refineries on Teesside and Merseyside, but after a slowdown in the move to renewable energy, he quit as a non-executive director and the refineries were mothballed.

He has also run ventures to reprocess mine waste in China and acquired gold, copper and nickel mining interests, as well as a private jet business.

His wife and daughter ran the Le Beado shops in Jesmond, Newcastle, and Durham City, which closed in 2011 with debts of £794,343.

Last August, Mr Watkin launched a fund to help Pat Long’s legal bid to force the Ministry of Defence to hold a new inquiry into her son’s murder in Iraq.

Corporal Paul Long, 24, was one of six Red Caps killed in the town of Majar al-Kabir.

Mr Watkin, currently in Australia, said he had “no comment to make at all”.

He can still appeal the order.

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